Archive for the Category: Language

Scatting

Last night I saw an excellent group called Rag Mama, a duo from England who live in France and play American music, particularly blues and jazz. One of the songs they sang was Cab Calloway’s Minie the Moocher, which includes some scat singing in the chorus. Wikipedia defines scat singing as “vocal improvisation with wordless […]

Also posted in English, Music, Songs 4 Comments

Which are the most learned languages?

When up-dating the Which language should I learn? page on Omniglot this week I decided to try and find out not only which languages have the most speakers, and also which ones have the most learners. The top ten languages in terms of overall number of native (L1) and second language (L2) speakers are: Language […]

Also posted in Arabic, Chinese, English, French, German, Language learning Leave a comment

La Journée internationale de la Francophonie

Aujourd’hui est la Journée internationale de la Francophonie, une célébration de la langue et culture française dans les 70 États et gouvernements de l’Organisation internationale de la francophonie (OIF). Today is International Francophonie Day, a celebration of French language and culture in the 70 states and governments of the International Organization of La Francophonie. Here’s […]

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Language quiz

Here’s a recording in a mystery language. Can you identify the language, and do you know where it’s spoken?

Also posted in Quiz questions 8 Comments

Danish please

The other day I received an email about how you say, or rather don’t say, please in Danish. The translation I had on my Danish phrases page was Vær så venlig, which apparently is only used to hurry people up, or urge them to do something in a passive-aggressive way. When making a request, for […]

Also posted in Danish, English 2 Comments

Šup!

Last week I learnt a useful Czech word – Šup! – which can mean Whoosh!, Go!, Move!, Hurry up! and similar, and Šup šup! means Chop-chop! A more polite way to say the same thing is pojďme, which literally means “Let’s (do something)”. Here are some examples of usage: – Pojďme na procházku = Let’s […]

Also posted in Czech, English, Words and phrases 2 Comments

Language quiz

Here’s a recording in a mystery language. Can you identify the language, and do you know where it’s spoken?

Also posted in Quiz questions 6 Comments

Embracing the other

People who enjoy learning languages, travelling, learning about different cultures and/or meeting people from different countries tend to be more open to difference, and more tolerant. At least that is my experience. While other people might be more inclined to fear the different and the foreign. In UK schools the most widely-taught languages are French, […]

Also posted in English, French, German, Language learning, Spanish 3 Comments

Elephant flies

An interesting Dutch idiom I came across today is van een vlieg een olifant maken or “to make an elephant out of a fly”, which is the Dutch equivalent of the English idiom to make a mountain out of a molehill. This comes from a post on the blog Stuff Dutch People Like. Other idioms […]

Also posted in Dutch, English, Idioms 1 Comment

Language quiz

Here’s a recording in a mystery language. Can you identify the language, and do you know where it’s spoken?

Also posted in Quiz questions 4 Comments
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